Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Romanian parliament approves new Ponta cabinet

Bucharest (AFP) - Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta's revamped government sailed through a vote of confidence in parliament Monday on a promise of continued economic growth and improved social programmes.

A total of 377 lawmakers voted in favour of Ponta's reshuffled left-wing cabinet, to 134 against.

"I want 2016 to be the fifth consecutive year of economic growth, based on a social model that is not associated with suffering and austerity," Ponta said in a speech to both houses of parliament.

Romania's Social Democratic premier of the past two-and-a-half years also pledged to step up the fight against tax evasion and make better use of European Union funding.

Ponta replaced some of his ministers on Sunday, a month after his surprise defeat in presidential elections.

Several members of the ruling party and its coalition partners were given ministries previously held by technocrats.

The economy ministry went to Social Democratic lawmaker Mihai Tudose.

Budget Minister Darius Valcov's remit was expanded to include finance.

There were no changes to the foreign or defense portfolios.

Ponta had been the frontrunner to succeed outgoing president Traian Basescu but was defeated in the run-off by Klaus Iohannis, an ethnic German former mayor who campaigned on an anti-graft platform.

Iohannis, a conservative, takes office on Sunday.

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